Amanda's House


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Amanda's Story

By: Tracey Cole

Amanda’s story is one of broken dreams, extreme pain, abuse and addiction. If only there had been a safe place for her to have found healing, maybe she would still be with us.

I first met Amanda’s mom when she started working for me. She shared with me the struggle and pain of dealing with her daughter Amanda. She was concerned about the choices Amanda was making; hanging with abusive men and using drugs.


I felt a tug on my heart to contact Amanda and I deeply wanted to know her. So, in the Spring of 2006 I contacted Amanda and soon we began meeting for lunch and dinner. A journey I never could have imagined had begun.  Amanda was 23 years old at the time and was in the process of terminating custody of her first child. Not only was she dealing with the difficulty of this situation, but she was also pregnant with her second child. Amanda was alone and scared. In our time together, she experienced a safe haven she had never known and a place to share her deepest woundedness without judgement. I learned that Amanda was experiencing deep seeded pain from both past and current trauma and that she had suffered sexual, emotional and physical abuse all throughout her life.

When Amanda was a child, she had lost her baby brother in a house fire. She carried the memory and excruciating pain of this incident with her every day and felt that it should have been her that died in that fire and not him. Amanda’s addiction started in Middle School and continued until she was 29 years old. Because of her trusting nature, she often chose the wrong group of people to be associated with. This choice led her to the use of cocaine, heroin, methadone & opiates.

 Amanda struggled all her life with depression and anxiety and the drug use helped dull the pain she kept stuffed deep down inside. Although Amanda’s struggles were immense, they did not make her who she was. She was a very likeable and talented person, always wanting to help others.  Amanda could not see the beauty she possessed both inside and out. She was a brilliant young woman with a passion for animals, art and people. When she entered a room, it would light up! Oh, how I wish she could have seen this beauty in herself.

In June of 2006, Amanda’s daughter, Siriana, was born. She and her daughter were homeless at the time. My family so wanted to give Amanda a chance to change, so we brought her into our own home to share our love and the love of God with her. Amanda called me “Mama Bear”, she had such a tender heart. I was so blessed to be a safe place for her during this time.

 Seven months later, Amanda moved to Kalamazoo. Because of her addiction, the baby ended up back with my family. Amanda was in and out of jail and rehab; never having a safe place to work through her pain. Because of this, she chose over and over again to return to her abuser. I continued to meet with Amanda during this time and maintained a loving relationship with her. 

Amanda moved to Port Huron and took advantage of some services there. She was making great progress until she decided to return to Three Rivers. It was then that she began to regress. In 2007, pregnant with her 3rd child, Amanda ended up incarcerated for five months. This was a blessing in disguise. She remained clean during this time, so both she and the baby were safe. In 2008, Amanda was released from jail and once again came to stay with my family. During this time, Rylea was born. Amanda so wanted to be a good mom. It was because of her sacrificial love for her children she chose to let them go. The pain Amanda suffered was so very great and the loss of another child was more than she could bare. This trauma led her to a place of deep helplessness and despair and once again she ended up in the County Jail.

During this stay, Amanda attended Celebrate Recovery at Riverside Church. I tried time and time again to reach her and we talked about her being clean. She spoke often of her fear of leaving jail because she did not have a safe place to go when she was released. The secular rehab programs in the area were a very short stay with little to no opportunity to rebuild life and heal. I had told her that one day there would be a place where women could go and get the real help they needed; a place that provided hope, love and opportunity for true transformation through the love of Jesus.

The thing about Amanda was that she was always there for others. She was so loveable and so caring with such a fun filled spirit. As much as she always helped others, she was never able to help herself. She had overdosed several times, but even through these incidents, she never found the help that she needed. She only stayed high to avoid the pain. On July 5 of 2013, I received the dreaded call that Amanda had lost her battle and had passed away from an overdose. 

Amanda’s House, through Hope United, Inc., offers hope to so many women!  This is the safe place that I had spoken to Amanda about. It is a place free of judgement and full of grace! It is a safe haven where one can finally let go of the deep seeded pain at the root of all addiction.  It is a place where healing can take place through truly understanding one’s true identity and worth in Christ Jesus!

Amanda would be so pleased to know that help is available for other women who are struggling as she struggled. Addiction does not have to be the end of the story. It can be the beginning! Amanda’s memory will live on through her beautiful daughters and through the hope of transformation for so many women just like Amanda!